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them to be read; only they were given to
an overman to be distributed. When there was
an inquest, last September, on some men
killed in the new pit, an English copy of
the rules was nowhere to be found. Cautions
sent down by the secretary of state had not
been incorporated in them, and the general
manager professed little or no recollection of
any of the reports sent, or suggestions made
to him, by government inspectors.

This was the general condition of the mine
and the way in which it was managed
previous to the accident. The narrative we
have given, represents a state of things in no
respect exceptional. A second Welsh colliery
manager deposed that, fifteen months ago, he
saw the particular colliery of which we speak,
and found its ventilation better than in three
others that he visited; said, "there must have
been some mistake to have caused such an
accident in a pit so well ventilated as this."
There are better mines in Wales, and there
are worse; nor do we find neglect of ventilation
in Wales only. On one of the days
occupied by the preceding inquiry, a pit in
England having been neglected during a
short holiday taken by the men, the fire-
damp ignited as the first-comers were
descending to work with their pan of lighted
coal, and blew them high into the air. Ten
persons, some dismembered and some
disembowelled, increased the number of dead
witnesses to a prevailing heedlessness of grave
responsibilities affecting human life. We
have seen nothing in the management of this
one Welsh mine that is peculiar to the
persons who have very properly been made
responsible. The owner shifts responsibility
upon the manager, who shifts responsibility
upon the overman, who, nevertheless, cannot
act upon his own responsibility, and finds it
the least troublesome course to avoid making
suggestions to his chief that imply outlay,
with no obvious and prompt money returns.
The overman follows his routine, and trusts
to the firemen, who have traditions of the
hurt done to himself by some predecessor,
who got into the master's black book by
a habit of reporting what it was not pleasant
to hear. Thus, when Richard, before the
quarrel in the office, privately told Roland of
the danger threatened, Roland privately told
Richard to keep everything as quiet as
possible, and not say anything about the fire-
damp. The men, grown used to "middling
air," and caps upon their candles, bore
quietly, rather than be set down as discontented
fellows, anything short of suffocation.
"I did not complain of the air," says one,
"because the masters never pay any attention
to the complaints of the colliers." That
man had been specially warned, by the loss of
three or four days' work, when he
complained, on a former occasion, of his want of
trams. Now, true as it may be, that the
right way of doing business is that which
gives to every one concerned in it the least
degree of unnecessary trouble, it is certain
that in this country we are apt to discourage
persons who take necessary trouble of a sort
that it is in a large number of cases utterly
dishonest to avoid.

At about three o'clock on the morning of
the fifteenth of last July, the three firemen
went down as usual with their safety-lamps,
and, traversing their several beats to examine
the state of the workings, met again at the
bottom of the mine. It was usual there to
compare reports, and to entrust to one man
who "got what was in the heads of all the
three," the duty of reporting to the overman.
When they had consulted, if they found any
danger, they gave two knocks with a
hammerif no danger, three knocks
before being taken up. On that morning all
was said to be as usual, except that one fireman
told his companions he had seen fire in
the upper-stall of the straight heading. This
was a new heading from which the works were
being pushed on in advance of the air; and
men who worked in it were content to do as
they could until, as they said, they "got the
air." The stall in questionDavid Morgan's
stallwas twenty-two yards wide, one yard
high, and sixty long. There had been, on
a previous day, a fall in it, which caused
additional escape of gas. One of the firemen
remarked, that David Morgan was not working;
he was gone to the sea-side, and, it
being ascertained that cross-sticks were set up
as a danger-mark against the entrance to
that stall, the three firemen agreed that they
would meet in it after breakfast, and in the
mean time report all right. Three knocks
were given with the hammer, and the firemen
having gone up, "all right" was
reported to the overman. David Morgan
being at the sea-side, and a danger-mark
having been put up, nothing was said by the
firemen about danger in any stall.

The colliers went down. The weather at
that time was very close. It had been tending
for some days towards a July thunder-storm,
which broke, on the succeeding days, over
various parts of the country. The state and
temperature of the air were of a kind to
lessen ventilation in the pit; and of the
furnace, which should create a draught to speed
the air out by the upcast shaft, a witness
says, "I thought it wanted some coals on."

On that morning a boy, named Llewellyn,
it is said, went to the overman for work, and
was told to go with his brother into David
Morgan's stall in the heading. The overman
says that he refused Llewellyn leave to work
there or anywhere. The boy is dead; but,
David Morgan's son, a collier, testifies, that
he had asked the overman about him, who
said, "I sent him and his brother to work in
your father David's stall." Another boy, who
was waiting to descend at the time of the
explosion, testifies, that he and another
had been told by the overman to go to work in
David Morgan's stall.

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